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Utah Pride Center recognizes Intersex Awareness Day

Posted at 2:44 PM, Oct 26, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Pride Center held a flag-raising ceremony and hosted a speech by Courtney Skaggs, an intersex woman, as part of Intersex Awareness Day on Monday.

“Intersex is an umbrella term for unique variations in reproductive or sex anatomy. Variations may appear in a person’s chromosomes, genitals, or internal organs like testes or ovaries. Some Intersex traits are identified at birth, while others may not be discovered until puberty or later in life," a news release from the UPC said, citing InterACT.

Skaggs was born with androgen insensitivity, an intersex trait in which a person is genetically male and resistant to male hormones.

"As a result, the person has some or all of the physical traits of a woman, but the genetic makeup of a man," an encyclopedia entry from the US National Library of Medicine says.

Skaggs spent her first 26 years as an active member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, served in Young Women leadership roles, attended BYU-Hawaii and served a Latter-day Saint mission in Iowa, a news release accompanying Monday's event at the Utah Pride Center states.

"But all that time, Courtney had a secret: She was born with androgen insensitivity, an intersex trait. At birth, she had testicles and a vagina. Tests showed she was XY – biologically male. In the weeks following her birth, a doctor deemed Courtney female, and she underwent surgery to “normalize” her genitalia. A bit later in life, doctors botched her hormone replacement therapy, and the dose of estrogen they administered made her hit menopause as a preteen,"the news release says.

Skaggs and others with the Utah Pride Center are spending part of the day handing out educational materials to help spread awareness of intersex conditions and the people affected by them.

In 2018, Skaggs, wrote a letter to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to ask church leadership to clarify the church's stance on intersex individuals.

"A year later and after sustained effort on her part, the church added a section to the general handbook titled “Individuals Whose Sex at Birth is Not Clear" which addresses intersex individuals," the news release says.